Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Odessa: 31 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.

with 4 comments

  A protester throws a petrol bomb at the trade union building in Odessa

A protester throws a petrol bomb at the trade union building in Odessa:

“Unclear” cause of Fire, says Radio France. 

The Voice of America has described this crime as follows,

Dozens of people were killed in a fire and others were shot dead when fighting between pro- and anti-Russian groups broke out on the streets of Odessa on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast on Friday, opening a new front in a conflict that has split the country.

A revised Ukrainian government statement said the fire broke out in a trade union building, and that 31 bodies were found at the scene – seven fewer than police first reported. Most of the victims were apparently members of pro-Russian groups.

So a “fire” just “broke out”.

An even more weaselly-worded report on France-Inter this morning described fighting in Odessa between “pro-Russian” and “pro-European” backers of Kiev. The French radio station claimed that the “pro-Russians” attacked the “pro-Kiev” marchers, who were mainly “football supporters”.

The burning to death of 39 protesters in the Trade Union building was described as follows,

Dans la soirée, les pro-russes se sont barricadés dans la Maison des Syndicats, qui a pris feu dans des circonstances peu claires alors qu’il était assiégé par les pro-Européens : 31 personnes sont mortes intoxiquées par les fumées ou se sont tuées en sautant par les fenêtres.

In the evening, the pro-Russians barricaded themselves in the House of Trade Unions, which caught fire in unclear circumstances while being besieged by the pro-Europeans: 31 people died poisoned by fumes or were killed jumping through windows.

Radio France.

The Guardian is more even-handed.

More than 30 people were killed in violent and chaotic clashes in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on Friday as pro-Ukraine activists stormed a building defended by protesters opposed to the current government in Kiev and in favour of closer ties with Russia.

Odessa’s large Soviet-era trade union building was set alight on Friday as the pro-Ukraine activists mounted an assault as dusk fell. Police said at least 31 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.

Bodies lay in pools of blood outside the main entrance as explosions from improvised grenades and molotov cocktails filled the air. Black smoke from the building and a burning pro-Russia protest camp wreathed the nearby square.

Pro-Russia fighters mounted a last-ditch defence of the burning building, throwing masonry and petrol bombs from the roof on to the crowd below.

Medics at the scene said the pro-Russia fighters were also shooting from the roof. At least five bodies with bullet wounds lay on the ground covered by Ukraine flags as fire engines and ambulances arrived at the scene.

Some people fell from the burning building as they hung on to windowsills in an attempt to avoid the fire that had taken hold inside. Pro-Ukraine protesters made desperate efforts to reach people with ropes and improvised scaffolding.

“At first we broke through the side, and then we came through the main entrance,” said one pro-Ukrainian fighter, 20, who said he was a member of the extreme nationalist group Right Sector.

“They had guns and they were shooting … Some people jumped from the roof, they died obviously,” he said.

Riot police arrived on the scene as hand-to-hand fighting was already under way inside, but did not enter the building and stood formed up in ranks outside.

The Guardian.

 Russia Today reports,

39 anti-government activists have died in a fire at Odessa’s Trade Unions House. Some burned to death, while others suffocated or jumped out of windows, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported. The building was set ablaze by pro-Kiev radicals.
A total of 46 people have died in Odessa’s violence on Friday and almost 200 others have sustained injuries, Odessa Region prosecutor Igor Borshulyak told journalists on Saturday.

39 of the dead lost their lives in the fire at the Odessa Trade Unions House, according to the Ukrainian emergencies agency.

31 of the dead were found inside the building, eight more were found outside by law enforcement officers,” the agency’s statement reads.

Police detained over 130 people following Friday’s bloody clashes and opened up 10 criminal investigations with charges including premeditated murder and violence against law enforcement officers.

According to the ministry, the Friday standoff on Odessa included “anti-Maidan” activists on one side and “football fans” from Odessa and Kharkov, as well as “euro-Maidan” activists, on the other. A criminal case on the charges of mass unrest has been opened.

This article on the mounting conflict is well worth looking at: The Great Game of Oligarchs. Behind the Ukraine conflict are post-Soviet billionaires often residing in London, says SOLOMON HUGHES


Written by Andrew Coates

May 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

4 Responses

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  1. The drone supporting left cannot be taken seriously. From railing against Islamists in Afghanistan and crying over the rights of young girls to go to school they suddenly, as if by magic, embrace Islamism in Libya and Syria, and presumably tell young girls to go fuck themselves!

    Just as their imperialist masters go soft on jihadists, even going all touchy feely on potential British jihadists in Syria, “Please don’t go to fight in Syria you might hurt yourself – boo hoo”, so the drone supporting left follow like the servile apologists they are.

    And to think the drone supporting left can speak of working class action! You couldn’t make this up!

    Meanwhile in Ukraine…

    Elected government is overthrow in violent coup backed by imperialism and enforced by right nationalist street thugs. The initial reaction of the drone supporting left – anyone who doesn’t support this is a Putinite!

    The people of the East and South, in particular, have been told in no uncertain terms that their vote counts for nothing, they have no democratic rights. They are an enemy within. When they protest and take action against this criminal assault on their rights, what is the response of the drone supporting left? These people are Russian stooges!

    As usual the drone supporting left have blood on it’s hands, as they follow their imperialist masters on their bloody journey into unprecedented levels of hypocrisy.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    May 4, 2014 at 9:48 am

  2. What happened in Odessa- an account by participants.

    On May 2, under the pretext of a so-called march for the “Unity of Ukraine’ (which coincided with a football match between ‘Chernomorets’ and ‘Metallist’) –paramilitary squads of Ukrainian nationalists were brought into Odessa by bus and train from all over the country.

    From the very beginning – when they had just started to gather on ‘Sobornaya’ square –many well-equipped paramilitaries could be seen amongst them. They had shields, helmets, bats and service weapons. Mostly they were men of about 30-40 years old, who were evidently not football fans. Some of them had shields inscribed with: ’14th Hundred of the Maidan Self-Defence Guard’. These nationalist paramilitaries became the main striking force of a bloody massacre of Odessa residents at the tent camp in ‘Kulikovo Field’

    In total, more than a thousand nationalists participated in a march and the slaughter that followed it. Local residents of Odessa were a minority amongst them – the majority were far-right paramilitaries, brought in from other areas.
    They could be identified by their dialect (not typical for the Odessa region) However many of them openly acknowledged where they came from.

    Fans of the local Odessa football club ‘Chernomorets’, (identifiable by their black-blue scarves), who had come for a traditional march to the stadium, left when they realized that the ‘visitors’ and provocateurs were leading them into an attack on local people.
    But the ‘outside-militants’ were not heading to the stadium. Their aim was to terrorise the city-residents and unleash violence against the activists of movements opposed to the Kiev ‘junta’. From the very start they were preparing to start a massacre.

    There were just a few policemen present, although the local Odessa police force was quite capable of controlling a crowd of a few thousand people and thereby preventing a massacre. But, as it turned out, the majority of police officers were ordered to guard the Internal Affairs Department building. Thus, the whole city was delivered into the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries. This isn’t surprising, given that the current Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, has long and close connections with neo-Nazi groups involved with the ‘Right Sector’.

    When the column of nationalists marched along Grecheskaya Street , some 200-250 activists of the local Odessa defence militia tried to stop them. The nationalists pelted them with stones, bottles and stun grenades. Then gunshots rang out.
    Ivan, a “Borotba” activist received a gunshot wound in his stomach from a military weapon. Activists and members of the Odessa defence militia tried to escape into the Athena shopping centre in ‘Greek’ Square.
    The far-right paramilitaries started to prepare Molotov cocktails on the square, in order to set fire to the shopping centre, with the Odessa defence militia members barricaded inside.

    Police officers managed to save the lives of these activists when they drove their police cars directly to the entrance of the shopping centre.
    The nationalists then headed to ‘Kulikovo Field’, where an anti-Kiev protest camp had been set up. ‘Borotba’ activists, along with ordinary Odessa residents, were on duty that day. In total there were around 200 people present, half of whom were women and elderly men.

    The neo-Nazis began to pelt the tent camp with Molotov cocktails and set it ablaze.
    Activists from the protest camp were forced to retreat to the nearby ‘House of Trade Unions’.
    The ultra-rightists then set the ground floor ablaze and the fire spread quickly throughout the building.

    People began to jump out of the windows of the upper floors – trying to escape the fire.
    But on the ground, they were finished off by nationalist paramilitaries.
    Andrei Brazhevsky, a member of “Borotba”, was killed.
    Deputy of regional councillor Vyacheslav Markin was also brutally killed when he jumped out of a window.
    Over 40 activists were burnt alive, poisoned by smoke or murdered by the Nazis while trying to escape from the burning building.
    Fortunately, most of our comrades managed to escape alive.
    Some, including the leader of Odessa “Borotba”, city council deputy Alexei Albu, were severely beaten by bats and kicked. They have numerous bruises, broken bones and head injuries.

    The massacre in Odessa was organized by the Kiev junta, in order to intimidate a population that is discontented with the new regime, and to eliminate the active fighters against it.
    Evidence of this is the fact that well-equipped far-right militants were brought into Odessa. Moreover, the police inaction and the attack by ultra-rightists in Odessa were synchronized with the “anti-terrorist operation” in Slavyansk.

    The Kiev junta has openly set a course towards violence and carnage against its political opponents. The tools of this brutal violence are neo-Nazi militants –acting closely with the secret police, well-armed and financed by the Oligarchy. The massacre in Odessa reveals that the Kiev regime of nationalists and oligarchs is rapidly turning into an outright terrorist dictatorship of the fascist type.

    by the Council of ‘Borotba’ union, May 3, 2014
    (adapted from their English translation at http://borotba.org/eng.html)

    Andrew Coates

    May 4, 2014 at 10:25 am

  3. There are new photos, facts and opinions. Be careful – the photo are terrible. http://ersieesist.livejournal.com/813.html

    The author pays attention (photo attached) that “some dead people had burnt heads and shoulders only”, “clothing under chest is not affected by fire”. He supposes that “somebody from above poured flammable stuff onto people and set them on fire”.

    Pro-Ukrainian “activists” were on the upper floor of the building. You can see them on the photos and video.

    One of the pro-Ukrainian activists is seen in the window of the room, where the pregnant woman strangled by electrical wire was found. The video recorded how this woman cried and called for help while being murdered (“HELP ME! HELP ME!” cries start at 0:20). One of the Ukrainian patriots posted that photo and sign ““We offed Mommy! Glory to Ukraine!”.

    Many deceased are seem to be shot in head. The bodies have the wounds. It is seen on the photos.

    Odessa news portal: http://odessa.comments.ua/news/2014/05/02/194019….
    The article name: “The Trade Union House is set on fire – patriots burn out separatists”.
    60 likes on facebook.

    No comments.


    May 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

  4. 03 May 2014

    Statement of the Party of the European Left (PEL) (main left European parties) on the Odessa Conflict

    We are witnessing the emergence of a Nazi State fostered by the USA and the EU in Ukraine. Yesterday conflict in Odessa and other east Ukraine cities with nearly 50 victims shows the protagonist behavior of Nazi groups under the guidance of Kiev. The split that Ukraine society is living has been influenced by the willingness of USA and the EU to go against Russia deploying all kind of measures in order to isolate that country in a kind of Cold War revival. It is just the opposite to what should be recommended if peaceful coexistence was the desired aim.

    One hundred years after the First World War Europe should not play with fire but on the contrary would favour diplomatic and peaceful solutions to all kind of international crisis. The ELP condemns the attitude of the EU on this conflict and also the brutal behaviour of Kiev and urges all parts to solve the differences under the principle of dialogue within the rules of the UN.

    – See more at: http://www.european-left.org/positions/statement-party-european-left-pel-odessa-conflict#sthash.Bl6AxFB4.dpuf


    Statement: condemn the fascist pogrom in Odessa.

    This is a statement drafted by Workers Power which we invite organisations and individuals to sign. Please circulate it to your members and supporters. To add your name to the statement please reply to this or email contact@workerspower.co.uk

    I would not normally post WP material but this is signed by quite a few people I know, who are not part of their group.

    May 3 2014

    We unequivocally condemn the fascist pogrom in Odessa, carried out by Right Sector gangs loyal to the regime in Kyiv.

    They torched the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, killing scores inside. The Nazi gangs finished off those who jumped from or fled the building, kicking them to death on the street. In the evening they carried out further pogroms against the population.

    We unreservedly condemn this fascist terror, which is the direct consequence of the illegal Kyiv government’s attempt to impose its authority by force on the whole of southern and eastern Ukraine.

    We condemn without equivocation all the attempts of this government of oligarchs and fascists ­ which has integrated the Right Sector fascist militias into their ‘forces of order’ – to spread their rule to areas that have justly resisted their illegitimate authority.

    We declare our complete solidarity with the population resisting the offensive of the Kyiv regime and support their legitimate demands for autonomy.

    We send our condolences to the family and friends of the martyrs in Odessa including to the comrades of the Ukrainian organisation Borotba who have consistently resisted the fascist advance into southeastern Ukraine and to the family of their comrade Andrey Brazhevsky, killed yesterday at the House
    of Trade Unions.

    We condemn the governments and politicians of the USA and EU states who have supported the coup and actually embraced the fascist leaders.

    We likewise condemn the western imperialist media who continue to slander the resistance and cover for the crimes committed by the regime in Kyiv.

    We appeal to the labour, socialist, anti-war and antifascist movements of the world to denounce the pogrom in Odessa, to condemn the offensive against the East and South, and to mobilise action in solidarity with the antifascist resistance in Ukraine.

    League for the Fifth International

    Workers Power (Britain)


    Andrew Coates

    May 6, 2014 at 12:10 pm

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